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Old 11-15-2009, 03:40 AM   #1
kidsmakeyoucrazy
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Default Newbie with 2 questions (late extract / bottle reuse)

I've been lurking for a while and decided to post.

I've never brewed anything before. I've asked "Santa" for a brewkit from Midwest Supplies, the one that comes with basically everything http://new.midwestsupplies.com/every...ent-kit-2.html

My questions are:

1. I've read that you can get a better beer by doing a late extract addition, but I'm not sure I want to tempt fate with my first batch. Should I just follow the instructions or is it worth trying a late extract and figuring the amount of hops I'll need etc for my first brew?

Second, is it ok to re-use commercial bottles? I've got a fridge full of micro brews and I'd like reuse the bottles if I could, not to mention the "big" bottles of Belgian I've emptied and my wife has on display....I'd like to put them to use too if it's ok.

I was thinking that once I figured out what I was doing I'd try a Belgian Dubbel that would probably tie up bottles for a bit while it "conditioned". It's my understanding that that style of beer finishes in the bottle and isn't fit to drink until it's a few months old.

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Old 11-15-2009, 03:43 AM   #2
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Stick to a basic extract your first brew. I wont lie, its easy, quality controled, and you learn a **** load of stuff in the process. Plus, you get to drink a real beer your first time. I am learning loads of stuff from extract brewing, and its really on a few more dollars than partial grain.

Gratz tho, glad to see you join the addiction.

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Old 11-15-2009, 03:44 AM   #3
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A late extract addition is probably one of the simplest changes you'll end up making to recipes. Go for it.
Commercial bottles are great, so long as they are not twist offs.
Belgians won't work unless you plan to cork and cage, which will work just fine to age a dubbel.
Welcome to the forum. ask lots of Questions, and don't be shy.
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Old 11-15-2009, 03:48 AM   #4
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Welcome!

1) Yes, late extract addition is usually better, but you can still make excellent beer without it. So it sort of depends on how comfortable you feel with it. You can also see how your first brewday goes and decide on the spot. Honestly, there's not that much of a difference - following instructions will have you add all your extract at the beginning of the boil, while in late extract you want to save 2/3 or so (if I remember correctly) of your extract until about 15 minutes left in the boil. I'd definitely not worry about changing hops amounts right now or anything like that. Just my $0.02, but that's a whole can of worms that's better opened once you have at least a little bit of experience.

2) Most definitely! The only thing is that you have to use pop-top bottles, not screw-tops (cause screw-tops won't take a cap from a wing capper). But yes, drink 'em, clean 'em, sanitize 'em, fill 'em, then do it all again.

Good luck!

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Old 11-15-2009, 03:55 AM   #5
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Late extract addition isn't remotely challenging, but as you mention, you have to adjust the hops downwards. I'd probably just suggest abiding the recipe.

I think Midwest makes a kit of a Belgian Dubbel that is somewhat low alcohol and would finish fairly quickly. Still, it wouldn't be my first choice. Belgians are best done with liquid yeast, which in turn requires a starter. I'd suggest dry yeast the first time. You could go with dry Belgian yeast, I suppose. Or you could brew a quicker batch right away and the Belgian Dubbel second.

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Old 11-15-2009, 09:19 PM   #6
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This might not need to be mentioned, but unless you're kegging, virtually *any* beer you bottle will need 3-4 weeks to carb and finish up. Larger beers (higher OG) will need more time in the bottle to mellow out. For your first batch, I'd recommend cracking a bottle after a week, take notes on taste/carbonation/appearance, crack a bottle after 2 weeks, take notes, crack a bottle after 3 weeks, etc. just so you can see the changes it goes through. Just throw the bottle in the fridge a day or two before you open them. It's really amazing the difference 2-3 weeks makes.

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Old 11-16-2009, 12:33 AM   #7
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Thanks for the advice. No worries, I'm not going to try the dubbel until I've got a few brews under my belt. I doubt anything I brew will be as good as the real stuff anyway. I was fortunate enough to spend 2 weeks in Belgium in January....I consumed quite a bit of the local beverages...and brought as much home as I could.

I'll stick to the recipe for my first brew and then venture out from there.

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Old 11-16-2009, 09:34 AM   #8
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When I first started, I learned a ton from John Palmer's "How to Brew". I would highly recommend getting a copy (or you can read a slightly older version online for free).

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